Navigating Life’s Challenges: Practical Guidance for Success in Skilled Trades
Skilled trades are a critical component of modern society, providing essential services in construction, manufacturing, and infrastructure development. Trades such as electricians, plumbers, and mechanics are always in demand, with job opportunities expected to increase in the coming years. And yet, pursuing a career in skilled trades often comes with its share of challenges.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the common obstacles that individuals in skilled trades face, as well as practical tips for overcoming them. We will also discuss the importance of education, training, and certification in building a successful career in skilled trades.
Challenges facing skilled trades professionals
One of the most significant challenges facing skilled trades professionals is the shortage of qualified workers. According to a report by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the electrician shortage in the US is expected to reach 85,000 by 2024. Similarly, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) predicts that there will be a shortage of 2.4 million skilled workers in manufacturing over the next decade.
Another challenge is the perception that skilled trades are less prestigious or less financially rewarding than other career paths. This misconception has led to a decline in the number of young people pursuing trades careers. The average age of skilled trades workers is 55 years old, and as these workers retire, the demand for qualified workers is increasing.
Other challenges that skilled trades professionals face include job insecurity, lack of benefits, and poor working conditions.
Tips for overcoming challenges in skilled trades
1. Pursue education and training
Education and training are essential for building a successful career in skilled trades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most trades require either a high school diploma or completion of a trade school program. Some trades, such as electricians and plumbers, may require an apprenticeship program, which provides on-the-job training and classroom instruction.
By pursuing education and training, you can increase your knowledge and skills, making you more desirable to employers. Additionally, education and training can lead to higher wages and better job security.
2. Get certified
Certification is an essential aspect of building a successful career in skilled trades. Certifications demonstrate your proficiency in a particular trade and increase your credibility to potential employers. Some popular certifications include:
– Certified Electrician (CE)
– Certified Plumbing Inspector (CPI)
– Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
– Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)
Obtaining certification can involve testing and ongoing education, but it can lead to increased earning potential and more job opportunities.
Networking is another critical aspect of building a successful career in skilled trades. Joining a professional association or union can provide opportunities for connecting with other trades professionals, learning about job opportunities, and accessing resources such as training and certification programs.
Additionally, attending trade shows and events can provide networking opportunities and exposure to new products, techniques, and technologies. Building relationships with suppliers, contractors, and manufacturers can also lead to referrals and new job opportunities.
4. Embrace technology
Technology is changing the face of skilled trades, and those who embrace it can gain a competitive advantage. For example, digital tools such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) are becoming increasingly prevalent in construction, providing new ways to visualize and plan projects.
Similarly, robotics and automation are changing the face of manufacturing, increasing productivity and efficiency. By staying current with technological advancements, you can position yourself as a valuable asset to employers.
Pursuing a career in skilled trades can be challenging, but with education, training, certification, networking, and a willingness to embrace technology, you can build a successful and rewarding career. The shortage of qualified trades workers provides an excellent opportunity for those willing to put in the effort to stand out and excel in their careers.